The mood has changed quite drastically for Newcastle United this season when compared with the success of the previous one, causing Hatem Ben Arfa to start looking for a move elsewhere in the summer, giving Liverpool, very interested in the Frenchman, an opportunity to try and sign him.
Sources close to Ben Arfa point towards him preferring a return to Ligue 1, but only to one club: PSG. Ben Arfa, who began his career with Lyon and later played for Marseille, winning a league title with PSG’s biggest rivals, is after money and playing for a club that currently looks like a lock for Champions League spots and titles, things not quite synonymous with Newcastle and with their aspirations.
Liverpool might not be close to titles at the moment, but they aim higher than Newcastle, and Brendan Rodgers, very keen and enthusiastic about the talents of Ben Arfa, is hoping that the currently injured player remains unsettled at the club, enough to command a move in five months time.
The knowledge that Newcastle are interested in their ex-striker, Liverpool’s Andy Carroll (currently on a failed loan to West Ham), might help them reduce the asking price for the attacking midfielder, who has a contract until the summer of 2015, which obviously won’t make a cheap transfer target this summer. Hard to see how Newcastle will ask for anything less than £13 million.
Ben Arfa began his Newcastle career in 2010-2011, on loan from Marseille, impressing everyone in a very short time before Nigel de Jong (who else) tackled him and broke a few bones in his left leg, which kept him out for the season. Newcastle still decided to make his stay permanent, paying Marseille a total of £7 million, including the loan fee, to get the player. Ben Arfa was the creative light, scoring a few amazing goals for the club in 2011-2012, helping them win a place in the Europa League, finishing the season with 5 goals and 7 assists. This year things have gone a bit more difficult, missing quite a few games so far, scoring 3 goals in 13 Premier League matches.